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Thread: Walsall / Aldridge

  1. #11

    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    Thanks for that Graham.

    I have since had this email from Robyn;

    Hi Richard,
    I forgot to mention that further down the road over the canal bridge almost oposite ' The dilke' pub/resturant is the remains of two Barracks on farming land next to a barn. Apparantly according to my Mum they were used at one time by the cadets.
    I e-mailed as im actuatly interest to find out more about this airfield, as i havnt found much information about it, and most people i have spoke to had sketchy memories of what flew from there and its role, if any, during the war.


    http://www.aldridge-web.com/listings/131.html
    http://www.aldridge-web.com/listings/53.html
    http://www.joe.shakespeare.btinterne...k/airfield.htm

    I would be interested in more factual information lol.

    regards
    Robyn
    Cheers

    R

  2. #12
    OTBC Paul Francis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    I wish we had more of these personal accounts of 'the local airfield' they are very interesting.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Sparky67's Avatar
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    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    Just noticed that, on the 1931 Helliwells plan of the airfield, the reciprocal of the QDM 10 runway is shown as QDM 20...

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    Until some time during wwii runway designation was 1 2 3 etc they didnt use the system that we have today. So the reciprocal of 1 (what we would call the main instrument runway) was 2, I think!

  5. #15
    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky67 View Post
    Just noticed that, on the 1931 Helliwells plan of the airfield, the reciprocal of the QDM 10 runway is shown as QDM 20...
    Yes - it shoud be 28. Well spotted. The runway numbering appears to be one of the many 'standards' discussed on this forum a while ago. Runway 1 is the first one clockwise from the Tech Site. Numbers continue clockwise.

    Remember - A standard is something put into place so that it can be changed in the near future.

    Graham

  6. #16
    Senior Member Sparky67's Avatar
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    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    Quote Originally Posted by REF View Post
    (From Robyn) the remains of two Barracks on farming land next to a barn.
    These are the remains of the barracks with the newer steel-clad barn to the LHS. Would be interested to know whether the site had any connection with the airfield. Location is here.

    Last edited by Sparky67; 27-06-2010 at 22:32.

  7. #17

    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    While looking for information on Linley Woods i found this site so decided to post some of my own photos of Aldridge Airport.
    this gun implacment is hidden in trees and difficult to get into due to the entrance being blocked with rubbish.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #18

    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    The nissen hut remains and the shed had no connection with Walsall "airport". They were part of a WW2 anti-aircraft gun site. I think the site was used later in the war by US troops stationed locally and, postwar, by the TA - I can remember seeing bren gun carriers there.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport, Aldridge

    Hi Guys. I only joined, as I was looking for info about the "gun emplacement" described, and pictured in the post, above, by "thurs night gang", to show to my kids.

    As a child, in about 1975, my dad (ex RAF) took me to see the emplacement. Access at the time was easily gained through two hatches, one within the concrete floor of the circular "donut" like structure and one set slightly away, to the North West. The underground structure was in good order, with clean brickwork and no vandalism or graffiti evident, and consisted of a large square room with two short "corridors" leading off to the west and access, via a short tunnel, to the circular "gun emplacement" above ground. There was no flooding or infill and there were two sets of iron bunk beds and some benches still in place.

    I have tried to locate the "bunker" a couple of times in recent years, with no success, only finding a huge patch of nettles, where I remember it being. I'm really pleased to have found pictures, on here, of the interior that I haven't seen for nearly 35 years. Thank you.

    The lower (three storey) of the twin "TI" (Tube investments) buildings that stood where the new "Rotometrics" factory stands was latterly used by West Midland Police, for the purpose of Firearms training, for several years prior to their demolition.

    With regard to the Nissen huts, in the field opposite the Dilke pub, I was always told, by my Grandparents, that they were part of a prisoner of war camp. The prisoners used to work on the adjacent farm, although looking at the photo, i would be more inclined to agree that its "anti Aircraft" judging by the concrete base, in the foreground. Grandparents, eh? You just cant trust em

    Just wanted to share the info that i have, about this interesting site.

    Thanks
    Bart
    Last edited by Bart; 18-11-2010 at 01:47.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Walsall Municipal Airport (Aldridge)

    I was brought up in Aldridge and am old enough to remember Walsall Airport as a child when in use. Going past on the bus was a great fascination to me as a boy, I just, remember aeroplanes with folding wings lined up on the grass, in later years I learned they were Seafires assembled by Helliwells in the late 1940's. I clearly remember Harvards being there and I now know that Helliwells Aircraft had a maintenance contract to service them for the RAF. As far as I know there were never any commercial passenger flights from Walsall Airport. As far as I know the airfield was never an RAF base.
    I do remember once our bus being stopped once to wait for a twin rngined aircraft to take off. It had RAF roundels and was probably an Anson although at five I didn't know that. I have a very clear childhood memory; I remember the control tower was a small wooden pyramid roofed tower on top of the main roof of a bugalow type sort of club house structure next to a primitive barn like non standard hangar. There was a more standard hangar alongside the main road and Helliwells two pre war built civilian hangar workshops and offices. At the top of the field was a more RAF style hangar a'T' but shorter. I remember the windsock and the tractor mowing the runway. Living in Aldridge low flying Harvards were regular sights, I remember one buzzing the Green Junior school at tree top height at playtime which we loved.
    As far as I remember I do not remember aircraft active at the airfield after 1953, two partly dismantled Harvards stood by the Aldridge side hangar on the field for several years untill possibly 1956. I remember one or two emergency landings, going to see a Tiger Moth that landed in the mid fifties.
    As I got older I explored the field and remember the 'Pill Box' defence at the top of the field inside which was underground accomodation with bunks, although then flooded. There were still bits of aircraft at the top of the field in 1958 near the 'Pill Box' but not in a state to know type, I dragged a large piece home to Quicksand Lane and was not popular with my parents for bringing junk. In the trees were remains of two Nissen Huts adjacent to a derelict victorian mansion which I was told had been used to house Spanish child refugees in the 30's. In the abamdoned Longwood Lane Canal we found a lot of live ammunition that must have been dumped there after the war from the airfield, we told the police but they were not interested, it may still be there!
    My dad had been to the opening air show and been up in a joy ride that gave him an unofficial loop the loop and made him sick. He told me the original air show before the airfield opened with Sir Allen Cobham was held near where the Dilke Arms was built. He also remembered the bomber that over shot the field and that the turret was covered up and it was guarded.
    Just to add a few more bits to what I have seen posted on this series of comments, the huts opposite the Dilke were a military cap for the TA and for a time I was told was used as a German POW camp, there were defensive gun pits in the field next to the Dilke Opposite the camp, the large barn structure was I remember used for drill and MT. For years this camp had a WW1 piece of German artillery a 105 mm Howitzer? I also remember playing round Linley Wood bomb store, there were hut remains and air raid shelters to play in. At the back of the wood was a concrete standing with a small Robin Hangar.
    I rarely visit Aldridge but finding this site has brought back adventures and memories from 50 - 60 years ago.

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